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60% of Japan firms support Games this summer, poll shows

TOKYO (Reuters) - About 60% of Japanese companies say the Tokyo Olympics should be held this summer, a poll of 100 firms showed on Thursday, in contrast to surveys showing strong opposition to the Games among the general public due to worries about COVID-19.

The poll, by public broadcaster NHK, showed that 48 companies say the Games should be held on a reduced scale, while 13 want them to go ahead close to original plans.

Companies said holding the Olympics would help the economy recover, and would be good for the athletes' careers even if there were no in-person spectators, NHK reported.

Just three companies said the Games should be scrapped, and 36 did not give an answer, citing reasons such as that the COVID-19 situation should be carefully monitored.

Recent public opinion polls have shown about 80% of people in Japan want the Games to be cancelled or delayed again over fears the influx of athletes will worsen the pandemic.

Although much of Japan is under a state of emergency because of a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, organisers and the government have vowed to forge ahead with preparations for the Games, which are to run from July 23 to Aug. 8.

NHK did not say whether any of the companies surveyed were Olympic sponsors.

Tokyo 2020 organisers last month said all 68 domestic sponsors had agreed in principle to extend their contracts for the Games, which had been scheduled for 2020 but were postponed by a year because of the pandemic.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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